Friday, April 29, 2011


Just posted this as a 'quiz' on the Facebook Fan page. Though I didn't give the anagram there, just the pic and the fact that this is a 'famous' scrabble word....

Monday, April 25, 2011

7 things I learned from club this week

1. CHAIR has two 3 letter front extensions: ARM and BED.

2. EUPHORIA can be extended with -NT.

3. NIELLO is good. (It's both a noun and a verb, plural is -LI or -LOS.)

4. TALUK is good. (another interesting 5 I didn't know, it takes an A or S.)

5. An F (or any other high point tile) will score you more points on a TLS (in two directions) than as part of a DWS.

6. COELIAC is good. Luckily I didn't challenge- CELIAC takes an S, but this one doesn't.

7. I don't think I knew TELOI. A highly probable, but not playable, five.


Here's the game I played against Mike, our club's best player- I only needed both blanks and a late Z/S draw to win it. I try and explain some of my strategy, flawed though it may be. Feel free to leave your input. 


Sunday, April 24, 2011


On the way down to my parents house for Easter today, I noticed a license plate with WUU on it, in that order. Don't know if you've ever heard of the 'license plate word game', but it goes like this: you have to think of a word that uses the 3 letters listed, and contains them in that order. I doubted there was a word that met those conditions, but I was wrong.

The longer one, WELTANSCHAUUNG(S) is defined as 'a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it- it's German, of course, and also useless as any kind of scrabble play.

The other one, however is a five letter word that I've never seen and could be useful in getting rid of a couple U's. Know it?

Friday, April 22, 2011

HAYMARKET minus T or Y

At my favorite cafe here in Northampton, MA, where I deliver the mail....Haymarket Cafe.

Just realized that there are two sevens in there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

7 things I learned from club tonight

1. POLDER is a word, and is a better way to open then PONDER. Two reasons, I think: POLDER will more likely draw a challenge, and RES will bring them     to the TWS.

2. TOTTER and SOLDIER both take the same unusal hook. Didn't think of it for the first til after, and didn't know ir for the second.

3. LEGIT takes a convenient front hook.

4. Chickened out on ZINgARO and went with OR(G)ANIZe. I couldn't remember if the -ANO or -ARO spelling was correct. Turns out they both are. I think I       would have tried it, except the G was played so I went with the 100%-sure-bingo rather than the 90% one.

5. VASSAL is also a good word with only one S. Again, wasn't 100%, and it was a 50+ point play.

6. LUTHIERY* isn't good, and it's a good thing I didn't have a way to play it because I was sure it was.

7. However, EHLTUY? through a D has one anagram.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Words used to describe a heraldic cross...

A very important set of words to study if you're a scrabble player, right up there with paper sizes, tropical shrubs, and hmm, what other categories am I missing? None of the words listed take an S as they are all adjectives. 

AVELLAN having the four arms shaped like filberts (knew this one for some reason)

BOTONEE/ BOTONNEE having arms ending in a trefoil (this looks familiar, but I may be thinking of GOBONEE)

FITCHY having the arms ending in a point (didn't know this one, but it's a fun six, like the others)

FLEURY having the arms terminating in three leaves (like above, I think. knew this because it's a local lumberyard name here)

FORMEE having the arms narrow at the center and expanding towards the ends (keep reading, I'm going to list some other cool -MEE words)

FOURCHEE having the end of each arm forked (learned this long ago, before some top 1000 7 letter words. go figure.)

MOLINE having arms forked and curved at the ends (with an S you have LOMEINS)

POMMEE having arms with knoblike ends (other -MEE words: RAMEE, MAMMEE, and....LARYNGECTOMEE???)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4 things I learned from club this week

1. Club was pretty noisy this week. I'm hoping that's the reason I missed AEILORV, CEEIOST and AENRSTV, all words I've studied numerous times.

2. Playing phonies against lower rated players is a good way to gain spread! I ending up playing all lower rated players just because of the timing of               things, and had three 500 point games. (WEENINGS*, GLUCASE*, ECOTISE* and HOTTY* all stayed, the last three all in one game.) I never usually           play phonies, which is one of the reasons I think I got away with these-  so I have to be careful now, they may be on to me! 

3. MINNY and FORKY are good.

4. EFOPRT? through an M has an anagram, and BEILORTT has two.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

M is for monetary unit

It's time for the next installment of the ABC Wednesday series, where I go over some of the basics of competitive scrabble... this week: M!

Well, this isn't really a 'basic concept' of competitive scrabble, but I couldn't think of one that started with M. Anyways, some of the craziest 'scrabble words' are often currencies from other countries. In fact, I often feature a 'currency of the month' in my scrabble podcast on iTunes.

In the scrabble dictionary, though, it's usually called a 'monetary unit of ______'.
Here's a few fun ones (with countries listed) for you, from ATT to ZLOTY:

ATT Laos BAIZA Oman    CRORE India     DIRHAM Morocco   EYRIR Iceland

FORINT Hungary      GOURDE Haiti      HAO Vietnam       INTI Peru

JEON South Korea     KHOUM Mauritania     LAARI Maldives

MILESIMO Chile     NGWEE Zambia    OUGUIYA Mauritania

PARA Yugoslavia     QINTAR Albania    RIAL Iran    SATANG Thailand

TAKA Bangladesh    VATU Vanatu    XU Vietnam   YUAN China  ZLOTY Poland

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Episode 65

Out now! Thanks for waiting.

I'll gladly take suggestions for future features, such as
'competitive scrabble etiquette' tip of the month,
anamonic of the month, etc. etc.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pathetic rack sequences

Just two examples of some poor playing/ bad luck I've had recently...


1. ?JNNRTX  exchange JNNR (guess I didn't think keeping ?TX could go badly... and no, there wasn't an I to play thru)

2. ?DTTUVX play TUX for 16

3. ?DGRTYV play GR(A)VY for 24

4. ?DEFMOT play FEM for 20 (no place for the 8s and I probably would've missed them anyways)

opponent bingos

5. ?ABDEOT play BOrATED for 75 and I'm still down by 35 points. I thought getting a blank on the first turn was good?


1. ?DHJLOS play JO for 18

2. ?DFHLNS play F(O)HN for 27

3. ?ADLSST don't know SANDLOTS, play LAS for 20

4. ??DDEST baDDEST for 75. baddest, indeed.


A scrabble product that even my wife likes...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words are fun.

I'm getting a kick out of learning words lately-- even though half the time I don't even know what they mean! As many of you know, there's a common method of study in competitive scrabble which generally involves going through words by probability or length- a method which I've mostly ignored. Of course, I learned the two letter words first, and the Q without U words, and the TISANE + blank bingos, but after that I pretty much have picked up words randomly. These days, I add new words to my study list one of the following ways:

1. I'm going through all the four letter words- any I don't know, I add.

2. Any interesting fives that are made from adding a hook to a four from above.

3. Any bingo (or 5 or 6 letter word) I find I've missed after reviewing a game, regardless of its probability. 

4. Fun, though mostly useless extensions that I find myself wondering about after a particular play in a game.

5. Any other random word that catches my eye for any reason (i.e. strange letter distribution)

So here's a few words I've added recently:

MUSTH a state of frenzy occuring in male elephants (interesting hook for MUST)

CATHOLICON a universal remedy, REQUIESCAT a prayer for the dead (file under 'useless extensions')

BENZOYL a univalent chemical radical (just caught my eye, I mean, hey, it has a Z in it)

MINIMILL a small scale steel mill (was looking up extensions for MILL, and look at all those I's!)

VALVAL, VALVAR pertaining to a valve (missed in a game, nice double V words.)


Monday, April 4, 2011

L is for LEAVE

No, I'm not telling you to leave, dear readers, I'm talking about the tiles you 'leave' on your rack after you make a play!
Yes, so after skipping K as part of the ABC Wednesday series, I'm back on board with L.
So your 'leave' is very important because it's going to set you up for what's going to happen on your next turn. Take a shot at these three randomly generated racks, pretending you're going first,  and see if you can find the best play:

1. So you may have been tempted to play TOO or TOOT or even TIE, but those all leave you with all or nearly all vowels! In this case, you're better off keeping the E or ET or even EIT and exchanging the rest. Besides, no one's even played so you can pretend you're not even losing a turn!
2. FUN, while it only scores 12 points, is actually the highest rated play. This is because AEST are great tiles to build a 7 or 8 letter word from, and because U is probably the least useful vowel. FAUN and TUFA are also rated highly (since they leave EST and ENS), but those are less common words.
3. This was a trick question, because QUOIT is actually a word!  If you didn't know that word, hopefully you found QUOTE, QUITE or QUIET. QUOIT is best because it leaves you with EI- it's hard to explain, but certain vowel combinations are better than others. Just try and think of words that have an E and I in them versus two I's, or an O and an I, and hopefully that will explain how EI beats out OI or II. Regardless of this, though, playing QUOTE for 48 points (by placing the Q on the double letter score and getting the opening double word score) is a good example of when scoring points can cancel out the leave rule, assuming you didn't see a better play. If you score a lot on a turn, say 40 or more points, it's sometimes worth sacrificing the balance of tiles on your rack for a turn or two.

That's all for this week! Thanks for reading.
And hey, while I have your attention, you may want to check out a list of casual scrabble clubs here.

6 things I learned from club tonight

1. Exchanging DHLV from an opening rack of DHLQTUV can go very badly (even though it actually sims high). I drew BTUW.

2. VIVES* isn't good, but VIVAS is. I knew one wasn't good, but couldn't remember which was which. It seems strange that one is an adjective and the             other a noun since the definitions are almost identical.

3. DURR is good, I think it's one of the 4's I haven't made it to yet. Yet I knew DURRA.

4. REMAILED is good. I held it, and it's sad that I wasn't sure since I work for the post office. I need some REMEDIAL study on eights.

5. ENDOSTEA takes an L, and not an S. It didn't come into play (though I'm happy I found the bingo), but good to know.

6. KAIN, KANE and CAIN are all the same thing. Not sure I ever made that connection.